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Sunday, April 14, 2024
Arts: NOTL author features town in debut novel
Cat Skinner at Sally Basmajian conducted a short Q & A and reading of book excerpts during Basmajian's book launch on Sunday. Julia Sacco
During the launch party for her first novel "So Hard To Do," NOTLer Sally Basmajian signed copies of the book as well as themed mugs. Julia Sacco

Whether you’re team Suze or team Jannie, NOTLers likely will get a kick out of Sally Basmajian’s debut novel “So Hard To Do.”

The novel follows mother and daughter Suze and Jannie through a twisted love triangle involving the two women and Jannie’s older neighbour, Aram.

It is billed as an “entertaining tale about mother-daughter relationships, a love triangle and coming into your own.”

“Part of the book takes part here in Niagara-on-the-Lake,” Basmajian said during a short Q&A session at a launch party in the Q Lounge at 124 on Queen Hotel & Spa with fellow NOTL author Cat Skinner.

Mentions of the town are hard to miss, with the Starbucks on Queen Street a meeting place in the first segment of the book and the old Court House serving as inspiration for the novel’s pivotal scene.

“There’s certainly a lot of subject matter to find in this town,” said Skinner.

Moving to Niagara-on-the-Lake spiralled her into a career in novel writing, Basmajian said in a phone interview.

She made the move from Toronto in 2013 following a career in broadcasting and marketing sales, most recently at Bell Media CTV.

“I loved that career. It was so much fun.”

That being said, after about a year of spending free time decorating her new home in Old Town, Basmajian joined the NOTL Writers’ Circle in search of a new hobby.

“I really owe the entire journey to the NOTL Writers’ Circle because they really encouraged me,” she said.

At the launch party, guests sipped wine and ate nibblies while chatting about the book alongside the author.

NOTLer Chris Esposito said it was more than your average romance novel. 

“It was easily relatable, with situations between mother-daughter.”

Aside from featuring NOTL, “So Hard To Do” touches on a subject near and dear to the author’s heart. 

“The book features a couple of people at different points on the (autism) spectrum,” said Basmajian.

She has family members who are on the spectrum and said that with the right support and love, they have accomplished a lot.

“I am very familiar with and love people on the autism spectrum and part of the inspiration of writing this book was to give them happy, romantic, happily ever after endings.”

For the cover of the book, Basmajian said she chose the official shade of blue representative for those on the spectrum, noting that although it is a subliminal nod, she wanted to include a “loving recognition and tribute” to those in her life who live with autism.

At her book launch, on a large screen at the front of the room, a message read, “We’re all on the spectrum when it comes to love,” a sentiment that Basmajian endorses with a love story that’s an easy read for all. 

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